Fresh-baked pita, either slit open to make a sandwich or torn into pieces for dipping, is the standard accompaniment for scores of Israeli specialties. Here are five bakeries in the U.S. that are renowned for their pita.
Damascus Bakery in Brooklyn, New York (718/625-7070), makes both white-flour and whole wheat varieties and will ship anywhere in the U.S.
The Middle East Bakery and Grocery in Chicago (773/561-2224) sells its excellent pita to stores across the Chicago area.
You can order several varieties of the flat bread, including extra-large versions, from the New Yasmeen Bakery in Dearborn, Michigan (www.eyasmeen.com).
In Austin, Texas, the Phoenicia Bakery & Deli (512/447-4444) will ship its Lebanese-style pita, which is thinner than other versions, anywhere in the country.
And in San Mateo, California, the Aladdin Market (650/574-7288) sells traditional pita as well as za'atar pita, which is rubbed with oregano and sesame seeds.
If you can't find fresh-baked pita, restore some of the bread's pillowy- soft texture by sprinkling water onto ordinary supermarket pita and warming it the oven for three or four minutes.